INVESTEC Derby-winning trainer Andre Fabre has defended 19-year-old jockey Mickael Barzalona for beginning his celebration before he had clinched a famous victory in Saturday’s Classic at Epsom.
The precocious Barzalona stood up in his riding irons and saluted the 120,000-strong crowd as Pour Moi neared the end of a race in which he put the favourite, the Queen’s Carlton House, firmly in the shade.
But the 22-times French champion trainer Fabre insisted the teenage rider had merely been acting with youthful impulse – before praising the colt for landing him his first Derby win at the 10th attempt.
“He’s only 19,” Fabre said of Barzalona, adding of Pour Moi: “This is special as he has great speed and style which wouldn’t fit Epsom. His acceleration is that of a champion.”
Pour Moi’s triumph prompted bookmakers to slash his odds for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October from as long as 16-1 pre-Derby to around 4-1 last night.
However, Barzalona was brought down to earth yesterday in the Group Three Prix de Royaumont Stakes at Chantilly, where came last on another Fabre-trained horse, Avongrove.
Reliable Man wins French Derby
RELIABLE MAN summoned a late charge to win the French Derby yesterday, earning trainer Alain de Royer Dupre his sixth victory in the race.
Veteran Gerald Mosse steered Reliable Man through the field before overhauling Bubble Chic – runner-up ahead of favourite Baraan – in the final stages.